The Art of Negotiation in Personal Injury Cases

Q: How does the extent and cause of a victim’s injuries impact the outcome of a personal injury case?

Whenever there is an accident case, the first question raised—and often debated—is who is at fault? Who caused the accident, or in legal terms, who is liable? Once liability is established, the focus shifts toward the victim’s injuries and a determination of what is required in order to compensate the victim for his or her damages.

Often, opponents in personal injury lawsuits can be miles apart when it comes to agreeing on a figure for appropriate compensation of a victim.

Take the recent Los Angeles personal injury case of an 86 year old woman at the grocery store that was overrun from behind and knocked to the ground by the equivalent of a pack of Clydesdales—a loaded Anheuser-Busch merchandise cart. The beer giant admitted liability, but the parties did not agree on the extent of the victim’s damages. As a result of the negligence, the victim sued Anheuser-Busch for the following damages incurred as a result of the accident: her future medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of her life.

The plaintiff sought $290,000 to cover an extensive list of treatments, rehabilitation, medications, and therapies related to the back injury claim she sustained. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the defendants essentially claimed that with respect to the cart injuries, the woman needed only aspirin and some self-administered rehab exercises at home. They alleged that any further issues were related to her pre-existing degenerative disc and other related diseases and advanced age– and even taking those into account, claimed she needed only $4,000-$32,000 worth of epidural shots for her worsened injury.

At mediation, the plaintiff sought a settlement of $200,000-$800,000, but the defendant offered $85,000. During trial, the defendant upped its offer to $500,000, but the plaintiff raised the bar to $1.1M. After trial, the jury awarded the woman $886,974.

As is often the case in any accident case, it’s important to have an experienced and compassionate personal injury attorney by your side to skillfully negotiate an appropriate settlement or aggressively litigate if one can’t be reached.

If you’ve been the victim of any kind of accident anywhere in California that was not your fault, contact The Law Firm of Javaheri & Yahoudai online or call today for a free evaluation of your case at 888-806-6722.